Lesson s in Jude (series) Part 1
by John Lowe
THE BOOK OF JUDE
Jude is concerned with apostasy. Even in his day, the church was already being infiltrated by religious Quislings, men who posed as servants of God but who were actually enemies of the cross of Christ. Jude’s purpose is to expose these traitors and to describe their ultimate doom.
Authorship. In the normal manner, this author identifies himself in the salutation as Jude, the brother of James. This means that he was also the brother of our Lord (*Mt 13: 55;**Mk 6:3). He preferred not to mention the family relationship to Jesus directly; perhaps the mention of James, who was a leading figure in the church in Jerusalem, was enough to give weight to his identity. His boast, like that of Peter and Paul, was that he was a “slave” of Jesus Christ.
*(Mt 13:55: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?” Two of these brothers, James and Judas (Jude) wrote New Testament epistles and played an important role in the early church.
**(Mk. 6.3) “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.”
At one time, Jude was listed as a disputed book; this means only that there were some who did not accept it. However, external evidence for this book is strong. It was quoted by several early church Fathers (Polycarp, Clement of Rome, etc.), and is listed in the second-century Muratorian Canon.
The outstanding reason for disputing the authenticity of Jude in ancient and modern times has been the fact that Jude quotes from the apocryphal Enoch, evidently accepting that he is the seventh from Adam. Another problem is the amount of duplication from II Peter, although there could have been a common oral or written source behind both. There is no real reason for not accepting the traditional canonical status of Jude.
Occasion and purpose. Jude, like Peter, writes to encourage believers to continue to hold to the faith against the diabolical attack of false teachers. The Old Testament Scriptures and the common apostolic preaching are the authorities which predict both the presence and the doom of the scoffers. His letter has the stated purpose of encouraging his readers to contend for the faith (vs. 3). The letter assumes an existing danger of apostasy into immorality and deep sin because of the influence of shrewd and greedy teachers. Jude writes to correct this.
Date and place of writing. Whether before or after II Peter, Jude is at least in the same general period. There is the possibility that both draw heavily from a contemporary oral or written source which is no longer existent. The fact that Jude is more definite in his reference to the false teachers as a present reality to his readers (vs. 4) suggests that he wrote after Peter when the problem had more fully developed.
No hint of who the readers are is given in the book, except that they are perhaps in the Palestine area so that they will know who James (vs. 1) is; they may be Jews or Gentiles. The date must then lie somewhere between about A.D. 65 and 80, perhaps A.D. 67–68. The place of writing is not indicated but quite likely is Jerusalem.
Characteristics. The book is characterized by the strongest apocalyptic condemnation of the ungodly and immoral false teachers. Jude, like Peter, refers to the Old Testament to prove his point about the judgment of God upon sin; unlike Peter, he freely refers also to the apocryphal works that were current. Of all New Testament writers, Jude is more noted for this, but he is not alone in doing it. Matthew, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews all do things with quotations which require strained explanations if we judge their literary practices by twentieth-century western standards. The book is definitely in character with the other apostolic writings and there is no reason not to accept it as authoritative today.
I. Introduction. 1–2.
II. Occasion of the Epistle. 3–4.
A. Change of the Purpose. 3.
B. Purpose of the Change. 4
III. The Apostate Past. 5–7.
A. Israelite Apostasy. 5.
B. Angelic Apostasy. 6.
C. Pagan Apostasy. 7.
The *Apostate Present. 8–16.
A. Activity of the Apostates. 8–10.
B. Warning of the Apostates. 11–16.
V. Exhortations Against Apostates. 17–23.
A. Exhortation by the Apostles. 17–19.
B. Exhortation by Warning. 20–21.
C. Exhortation by Example. 22–23.
VI. Conclusion. 24–25.
*(Apostate) somebody who renounces a belief or allegiance.
1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
I. Introduction. 1–2.
1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and *called:
*(called) invited (by the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ.